Emily Prusso for LVJUSD School Board

Hi. I'm Emily.
I live in Livermore. I am a small business owner. I am a reader of books. I am a volunteer. I make good pancakes. I chase chickens. I am a swimmer, hiker and slow runner. I am a parent and I am running for school board because I care about my kids, your kids and this community. I have served on the Livermore Valley School Board for four years. I believe that time and resources invested in K-12 education now is an investment that will pay dividends in our community for decades to come.
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I have three priorities which are:

  1. Making sure students have strong fundamental skills in reading, math, and science.
  2. The learning of practical life skills, including financial literacy.
  3. Developing students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills.
I will champion these priorities through the following approaches:

Prioritize Students

Students are more engaged in learning when they feel a part of their own educational choices. Policies and procedures should encourage and protect students’ individual learning styles. While we have many successes in our schools that prioritize students and enhance their learning, we need to continue to strive for excellence and close the academic achievement gaps, particularly in math and language arts. Students also thrive when they are socially, mentally, and emotionally healthy. I’m a strong supporter of our mental health initiatives. I hope to continue to support the following programs, while also furthering policy, support and determination that we can do better.

  • In the past four years, I have seen students excel with project-based learning in the Green Engineering Academy with the support of mentors from Quest Science Center and LLNL.
  • Our Dual-Immersion school at Junction has created an environment of learning that moves beyond language and includes strong social connections and social awareness.
  • Our math department at Christensen Middle School has worked hard to develop student-paced standards-based grading that promotes a growth mindset four our math students and encourages continued learning and moving past challenges.
  • The IB program at Joe Michell and GHS encourages students to think globally, critically, and challenge assumptions. The senior essays and eighth grade service projects promote planning and merit.
  • Our Elementary teachers enhance science with PLTW (project lead the way) lessons that advance hands-on stem experiences for our students. Many of our elementary schools provide a makers-space where students have the opportunity to build, code, and experiment with many different hands-on activities.
  • Our athletic programs (at both middle and high schools) foster teamwork, hard work, compromise, grit, and lifelong physical skills.
  • Our award-winning music programs nurture music skills, critical thinking, collaboration, human connection, and stress relief.
  • LVJUSD awarded over $1 million in 3 federal grants for mental health, including Teen Mental Health First Aid, training hundreds of students, staff and community members.

Support Teachers

The success of our students’ education depends on teachers. We need to encourage teachers to be a part of curriculum creation. We should nurture teacher innovation and make space and time for collaboration. Teachers, just like the students in their care, should have support to learn and teach experientially, experiment with classroom spaces, and mentor and coach each other. Administrators and District staff need to be present and available for teachers’ processes and needs. As a board member, I have made myself available to teachers to hear their concerns as well as the following:

  • Supported competitive compensation adjustments to attract and retain high quality employees.
  • Approved contract negotiations with our teachers’ union that led to a two-year contract settlement.
  • Supported the overhaul of a new teacher induction program, with Livermore as fiscal lead, which has already received accreditation.
  • Participated on WASC accreditation panels, IB interviews, and Golden Bell panels.

Empower Parents

For students, the best support system is not an expert teacher or a sympathetic administrator, but an informed and supportive family. We need to work on closing the gap separating schools and communities. Parents and students have educational rights that are often vague, difficult to access and to understand. As a district, we need to create transparency between schools and families. The more informed a family is, the better their child’s educational experience. During my term, and as a parent myself, I have wholly supported parent and family involvement.

  • Attended PCIC (Parent Club Information Council).
  • Promoted the importance of a Parent Handbook and advised on the development of the soon-to-be operative handbook on the District website.
  • Volunteered as a parent myself during fieldtrips, sporting events, and attended Back to School events, Open Houses and graduation/promotion ceremonies. I love attending sporting events at both high schools and, in particular, love to watch my girls participate in Swimming/Water Polo events.
  • Attended and support our “Parent Education” program (Livermore Learns) with a variety of virtual topics, relevant to parenting, navigating academic requirements, community support, mental health awareness, etc.